‘Ukiyo 3’ by Captain B


Niko was up ahead.

I rode through the night. No moon. Just a trusty steed’s senses and my ability to see in the dark.

She has been up ahead for some time. I had been down for some. A moon and then some has passed since we have known bliss.

The shapeshifter slipped into the room one night. She indeed spied Niko, naked, slip into the night. Beckoned by the forest to dance in the wind, among the pines, under a past moon that had shined upon a better time.

Then the Delilah nudged me with a cup in my daze. My blurry eyes and sleepy senses took her form as that of Niko, the only one to lie beside me in our bed.

In the cup was medicine. Or so it was said. She claimed my breathing irregular. She feigned concern as the real one might. The real one, I know, master of potions and spells and many things not known to most. This one too. They learned from the same sorceress. They grew together in the same womb.

I drank from the cup. My eyes opened too late and only a fleeting moment before they shut again tight. She cut my top knot. The prize she would claim and exchange for power. Spells and potions and still the elusive secret to transform will into bidding. Easier to come about it with cunning, dishonesty, and at the expense of others.

My top knot must be retrieved and thrown into the fire. It has already been the source of malevolent witchery for selfish ends.

The sleep was deep. It was not restful. Niko stayed around long enough to nurse me back to consciousness. When I finally came to- weeks later- she said nothing. I tried in vain to stand. I could not. Even my voice was barely audible and that which I willed to express, more than feeble.

She rode away on her mare and did not look back. My sobs, the only protest I could make.

Eventually I rose from the bed. I examined that tragic night and the folly. I observed the wrong turn and the clues missed that would have prevented all of this.

I am now strong. I now must act.

I have dreamed and seen Niko’s activity. I know what she is up to. She is highly capable and able. Still, even she can benefit from aid at certain times.

The time that draws near will certainly be one of those times.

My only chance for reconciliation is to appear at the auspicious moment, brandishing steel with a purpose.

The time is nigh.



Captain B. Seafarer. Lover of shore leave. Collector of heads. Disseminator of tales. Twitter: @NPeligeiro